McConnell says Afghanistan collapse 'the embarrassment of a superpower laid low'

McConnell says Afghanistan collapse 'the embarrassment of a superpower laid low'
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell assailed the Biden administration's military withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling the ensuing collapse of the U.S.-backed government a low point for the country.

"Terrorists and major competitors like China are watching the embarrassment of a superpower laid low," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement Sunday evening after the Taliban entered the capital of Kabul.

U.S. officials and citizens, as well as Afghan allies, are in the process of being evacuated out of the airport in Kabul, a frantic process that followed a week in which the Taliban quickly took over more than half of the provinces across the country while Afghan military forces have largely chosen not to put up a fight during the rapid advance.

President Joe Biden said last week he does not regret his decision for a military withdrawal, but there has been intense debate about whether there was an intelligence failure or negligence on the part of leadership.

“The Biden Administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan including the frantic evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul is a shameful failure of American leadership,” McConnell wrote in a statement.

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The Republican senator also criticized the president's foresight over the handling of the planned troop withdrawal, saying, "Everyone saw this coming except the President, who publicly and confidently dismissed these threats just a few weeks ago."

US FORCES TAKE OVER AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AT KABUL AIRPORT FOR EVACUATIONS

In response to a July 8 press question on whether he thought a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was "inevitable," Biden said he did not believe that was the case.

"The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable," he said.

McConnell issued an earlier statement last week urging the president to commit to sending more troops back to Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 deadline the administration placed on completing its troop withdrawal.

The minority leader called for additional air support beyond the end of August, saying that without it, "al Qaeda and the Taliban may celebrate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning down our Embassy in Kabul."

“It did not have to happen this way," McConnell said on Sunday, reigniting concerns about a resurgent al Qaeda in light of U.S. forces withdrawing from the country and the Taliban's clear goal of claiming the country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

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"We still have the capacity to dampen its effects, but without a presence on the ground or local partners, defending the homeland from a resurgent al Qaeda will be far more difficult," McConnell said.

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Tags: News, Mitch McConnell, Afghanistan, Taliban, Joe Biden, Congress, National Security

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: McConnell says Afghanistan collapse 'the embarrassment of a superpower laid low'

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